Basehor named city of excellence
Basehor is a Community of Excellence, according to the Kansas PRIDE program.
The three Basehor PRIDE groups learned the city was one of 15 communities in the state recognized with a 2008 Community of Excellence award earlier this month for their volunteer service to the community. The state award is a result of a year’s worth of community work, capped with a June presentation by members of Basehor PRIDE, Basehor Gold PRIDE and Youth PRIDE to a panel of Kansas PRIDE judges.
“It does take a lot of preparation to be ready when the evaluation team comes to town,” PRIDE president Chuck Wilderson said. “It’s actually the projects that are done throughout the year that pay off. We have to highlight those projects, explain the things we do and how we interact with other organizations and the city to do the things we do.”
Mary Helmer with the Kansas Department of Commerce, P.J. Stephenson, executive director for the Ottawa Main Street Association and Rod Weinmeister, retired employee of the Kansas Department of Commerce, were the three judges who visited Basehor in June. They were first given a tour of the Basehor Community Library before being guided by police escort to City Hall for the presentation. Along with the annual events and services the Basehor PRIDE groups provide such as the Citywide Clean-up, Fourth of July celebration and student scholarships, volunteers from the community came to explain events and civic groups and how they interact to complete a common goal.
After the presentation, the judges were taken on a tour of the Fairmount Township Fire Station, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall and the Basehor Historical Society Museum.
“It all went pretty well,” Wilderson said about the presentation. “The judges were impressed with the presentation and the hard work throughout the year. We were pretty sure we did well partly just from the comments from the judges.”
A $500 cash prize, along with a plaque to place on the Basehor PRIDE city entrance sign and a trophy were awarded to the group. While the groups have not met to discuss how they will spend the prize money, Wilderson said it will go back into the community and will most likely go towards the annual Firefighter and Police Officer Appreciation Banquet or the $500 scholarship given to a Basehor-Linwood High School senior each year by Basehor Gold PRIDE.
Along with their prizes, Basehor PRIDE was also selected to serve on the state PRIDE Board of Directors. The board meets a few times a year to plan PRIDE activities for the whole state.
“Out of about 65 communities, only four or five are asked to serve, so we felt like it was an honor,” Wilderson said.
On top of the group awards, past Youth PRIDE president Brian Swenson was also selected to receive a Youth Leadership Award.
The last time Basehor PRIDE groups earned a Community of Excellence award was in 2004, which was also the last time the groups competed because of a lack of manpower. However, Wilderson said they hope to continue competing for the award in future years.
“That’s our goal to do it again next year,” he said. “We’ll plan on that.”